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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reader Mail #9 - Collected Comments

Sometimes, I feel that the reader comments posts are the best part of my blog. With reader comments, I'm directly answering people's questions. That's more of a dialog rather than a monologue.

I like my decision to answer reader comments in separate posts, because that highlights the comments and the issues people are interested in. Further, this ensures that everyone sees the interesting user comments and responses, even those people who don't revisit the original post.

I feel mostly recovered from my illness now. I've very unsatisfied with the medical care I received against my will. Maybe I'll post about it later. I'm aware that I was out of it for awhile, and I hope to resume my former level of blog quality.

On What's Your Taxation Rate?, redpillguy says:

Regulatory compliance cost to the economy is 14%:

I didn't properly answer this comment the first time, in Reader Mail #8.

This total of 14% lowballs the actual cost of government regulation. For example, what is the cost to me of patent laws? Most of the benefits of patent law go to large corporations, not individual inventors. Even though I'm someone capable of inventing a patentable idea, I probably wouldn't benefit. My employer would benefit, because my employment contract typically assigns all intellectual property to them, even if I develop it in my personal time.

What is the cost of the Federal Reserve's inflation policy? Real interest rates are -2% to -10%, depending on whether you use M2 or the now-suppressed M3 to measure money supply inflation. That wasn't included in the above figure.

What about people and corporations who do special transactions to avoid taxes? Does the above total of 14% include all money spent on lawyers and accountants. Accountants do perform a legitimate service determining the profitability of a business. However, that's only a small fraction of what an accountant does; accountants primarily deal with compliance with government regulations. Most of the "determine your business' profitability" work could be performed with an Excel spreadsheet and a basic knowledge of arithmetic.

What about the fact that each industry is an oligopoly or monopoly? That's a cost of government, but isn't included in the above 14% total. How much of my phone bill, electric bill, or ISP bill is a cost of government? What about my property taxes or my rent (which includes my landlord's taxes)?

Summarizing, the above article had a cost of 14% of the economy for regulation compliance, plus 43% for direct government spending. That article has a total cost of government of 57%. In other words, the average taxation rate for each American is 57% according to that article cited by redpillguy. The actual total is probably far higher, because that 14% cost lowballs the actual total.

On Agorist Toolkit - Tax Avoidance, Zhwazi writes:

It seems a good solution would be to combine as many strategies as possible.

Seen this one yet? From what I can tell it seems to work.

I don't know. A lot of these strategies involve wasting lots of time. I prefer to say "The IRS has no legitimacy at all and I'm ignoring them as much as possible." However, that's hard to do once you're drawn into a dispute with them.

Plus, if you are involved in a dispute with the IRS, you still have to waste time and money defending yourself. Even if you're acquitted, you still don't recover your time and money. In a dispute with the IRS, if you're found guilty, you go to jail. If you're found not guilty, the judge and prosecutor and IRS agents still get to keep their cushy jobs. In a taxation trial, the stakes are high for the defendant, but very low for the judge and prosecution.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

The NYSE eliminated its trading curbs! WTF? Isn't this a big deal?

In the context of the new electronic trading system, it's pretty much completely irrelevant.

Any NYSE stock switches into a manual trading mode if it moves more than a certain amount in 30 seconds. After that point, no more trades will occur until the specialist manually selects a price for the next trade, trading from his firm's account if necessary. Trades can occur on other exchanges while the NYSE is in manual mode waiting for the specialist to do something.

Under such a system, trading curbs are redundant and obsolete. There already is a built-in limit to the amount a stock can move in 30 seconds, unless a specialist manually approves the trade.

On Ten Steps to Free a Closed Society, an anonymous reader says:

A few things you don't mention: Wolf played an active role in Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election bid on female issues. Ditto for Al Gore's 2000 campaign. "The end of America" is an odd title for someone who actively participated in its deconstruction. Clinton presided over an unprecedented expansion of the Federal police state, not to mention the incineration of the children Waco compound and the Randy Weaver seige.

Wolf is a controlled opposition shill pretending to be a dissident. Her ilk have no problem with police state tactics so long as the targets are "right wing extremists". She wants us to think, "it's all the Republicans' fault and Hillary will fix it."

The disinfo technique she employs is an analogue of poisoning the well. She can imply by association that Hitlery holds such views without the latter actually having to articulate so that when Hillary the Hun clamps further down on civil liberties, she can say she never promised that she wouldn't.

I really like how you take all that and turn it around. I have some hope for Ron Paul but I see where you're coming from as well because an unfortunate side-effect of Paul is that he makes people think their votes count.

Also, I didn't notice her ranting on the "rule of law". That's something the liberals and conservatives like to ballyhoo. If she were a true dissident, the would have bemoaned the loss of due process rights (from the point of view of the victims of such tyranny) instead of from some lofty impersonal pov. (viz. "governance")

I posted twice above. Please take the first one away. An addendum: I thought of a name for Naomi Wolf's disinfo technique: Since it's an analogue of poising the well, I call it "purifying the swamp."

After writing that post, I read a bunch of people saying that Naomi Wolf is one of the bad guys. You could say that about almost every mainstream author. I doubt she had any personal involvement with Waco or Randy Weaver, but she could have written more critically about them.

It's hard to tell what the effect of Ron Paul's campaign will be. Personally, I think he has zero chance of being elected. However, he is raising awareness of issues like the Federal Reserve, the income tax, the IRS, and big government. I doubt that part of his message has reached more than 1%-2% of the people, but the smartest people are the ones who really count. I am appreciating some of the discussions I see. Unfortunately, I see agorism as the only possible solution. I don't see a Libertarian president as being realistic or effective.

Ron Paul is holding out false hope that it is possible to reform the current system. I'm convinced that it is necessary to completely abandon the current economic and political system. Ron Paul is giving people who are disgruntled a superficial protest action; they can vote for Ron Paul. This distracts people from meaningful reform, such as performing counter-economic agorist market activity. It seems that Ron Paul is simultaneously helping, by spreading his message, and hurting, by providing people with the illusion that their vote matters.

On some online betting sites, Ron Paul is something like 7:1 to win the Republican nomination and 14:1 to win the general election. I see an arbitrage opportunity here. If Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination, the mainstream media wouldn't be able to ignore him. After getting the nomination, Ron Paul would get enough media coverage to have a legitimate chance of winning the general election. This could even start happening if Ron Paul wins a few early primaries, such as the heavily Libertarian New Hampshire. The mainstream media couldn't ignore someone who had the Republican nomination or someone who had won several primaries. As an arbitrage, I would bet on Ron Paul to win the general election and lose the Republican nomination. I consider Ron Paul to be a lock in the general election, if he wins the Republican nomination. After all, Ron Paul has stronger anti-Iraq-war credentials than Hillary, who voted for the war, or Obama, who wasn't in the Senate in 2003.

However, if Ron Paul does win the Republican nomination, you may see a 3rd Party libertarian candidate emerge and be heavily promoted. That could split Ron Paul's support and guarantee a win for the Democrats. This scenario is unlikely, because I don't think that Ron Paul will win the Republican nomination.

Barring the miracle of Ron Paul winning the Republican nomination, I think that it's a near-lock that there will be a Democratic president elected in 2008. There are too many people who are angry with the Republicans. Switching from one party to the other provides the illusion of change without any meaningful reform occurring. After years of Republican tax breaks for the wealthy and military aggression, now it's time for Democrats to loot and pillage with liberal spending and national health care.

I think I see what you mean by "purifying the swamp". You take something that's really bad and turn it around so it sounds reasonable. By having writers like Wolf around, you can have bad things occur and people not complain. Because Naomi Wolf is writing this article, things can't actually be that bad!

I'm usually pretty good at removing duplicate comments, but I'm still recovering from my illness. I'll probably post about that later. That's one of the benefits of posting anonymously or under a pseudonym. I don't have to worry about my employer discriminating against me based on my political views or any personal details I disclose.

On Ten Steps to Free a Closed Society, a redpillguy says:

I also posted about Naomi Wolf's article here:

The answer to the question posted anonymously in your blog is simple. The question was: How do people escape from the current mess? The answer is an agorist revolution. A nonviolent economic revolt is the only solution that can work.

It's very hard to tell if someone is working off the books if they're working from their basement. Even though the government's spying capability is high, it's still hard to enforce and convict people of working off the books. Is working going to be a crime?

On Is the Stock Market Worth Anything, an anonymous reader writes:

I think the aim of the globalizers is world government (State). For bringing this about they destroy the nation-states which were a step on the ladder towards One World State.

Hyperinflation and others such things are just tools to do the job. They are also creating 'a level playing field' where all the nation-states and their peoples are brought under the similar socio-economic conditions. The US moves down in its socio-economic conditions to become similar to Mexico and so on. A small elite rules and benefits and the rest just toil, pay their debts and serve the elites who only manage and deploy their system, they do not do any productive work.

I think that some people are aiming for a global world government. They want to carve up each industry in a few megacorporations.

Hyperinflation is a two-sided coin. Hyperinflation could drive people back to sound money such as gold and silver. Hyperinflation mitigates the confiscatory effect of taxes. Hyperinflation encourages a return to barter or sound money, which is harder to tax and confiscate.

However, the scenario they want, where a handful of people rule the world, is the effective extinction of humanity. It is literally the end of all progress and the end of history. Is that really what happens on every world where intelligent life develops? That is so depressing, to live in a universe where intelligent life is created and always exterminates itself.

On Ron Paul Forum and Paid Disinformation Agents, Bill says:

I suspect that people may be that clueless, and that you may be just a little paranoid. However, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you! I like the blog ...

This post reminds me of an old joke, in a good way.

Question: How do you spot the Fed in your group?

Answer: He's the guy saying you should blow stuff up!

Both are probably true at the same time. There are plenty of clueless people who just repeat the brainwashing they learned elsewhere. Whenever someone suggests that they have been brainwashed, they desperately try to discredit them.

There also are a lot of bad people trying to manipulate others for their own benefit. I have lots of evidence of this, both direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.

I am probably on the overly paranoid side. On the other hand, I've seen a lot of bad things and have a high level of awareness. After attaining partial enlightenment, I can't just turn my back on what I've seen. I wouldn't willingly take the blue pill. There are many bad things such as the Federal Reserve, the income tax, and "big government" that can't be explained purely by chance.

The idea that government spies manipulate citizen activist groups into doing bad things is, unfortunately, a time-tested technique. That's the reason lobbying and protesting don't work. It's too easy to infiltrate and subvert such groups. Dictatorships are inefficient. A citizen activist group that organizes itself as a dictatorship is just asking for infiltration by red market spies.

That's the reason I like the agorist solution. You need a very high level of trust in such a community. There are many practical obstacles to me personally trading agorist-style, but hopefully I can raise awareness in others and eventually, there will be enough opportunities for me to be able to participate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Free Market Dentist Busted in NYC

Last week, there was a news story about an unlicensed dentist seriously injuring a patient. The unlicensed dentist was offering very cheap rates. I have no idea what the quality of his work was; it was probably average or below-average.

An elderly patient got sick and became unconscious during treatment. The dentist panicked and put the patient outside on his doorstep and called 911. This led to the dentist's arrest. If there was a true agorist doctor he could have called for help, his problem could have been avoided.

The free market dentist was loudly decried as a criminal. Personally, I think he was merely acting in the free market. The Strawman Fallacy was clearly being used against the dentist. He had provided cheap dental care many people. The quality must have been decent, because he had regular patients. He ran into one complication, and all his other good work was ignored and he's now in jail for "practicing medicine without a license", which isn't a crime in a truly free market.

That's one point that's always ignored in the media. Government licensing requirements for doctors restrict supply and drive up prices. Licensing requirements could be just as easily provided by insurance associations. Why can't a health insurance company train and certify its own doctors? If there's a shortage of doctors, then the insurance company should be allowed to train more doctors.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How About ePennies and eNickels?

One of the more popular alternative monetary systems is eGold. It is digital gold, unallocated and stored in arbitrarily small increments. You can use it like a regular checking account. Until recently, eGold was popular on Ebay, until they stopped using it, presumably under IRS pressure.

I have some concerns with eGold. First, it may not survive a SHTF scenario of a complete economic collapse. Second, even though they say they're audited and fully reserved, fraud occurs. I'd prefer physical metal in my possession for maximum security.

Now that the US penny and nickel contain more metal value than their face amount, this raises another possibility. How about ePennies or eNickels? This would work for any monetary unit where the metal value is close or above its face amount. The US is probably going to drop the penny soon and change the composition of the nickel. Even so, pretty soon dimes and quarters will be priced near their metal value.

This system could even be used for older US silver coins. This website lists coins and their melt values. Notice that this still has a value of 22% for the quarter and dime, which are starting to approach their metal values.

I had another interesting idea for protesting Federal Reserve Points. Every time you buy something, tear a tiny corner off the bill. This way, it needs to be replaced. This is technically illegal, but practically untraceable.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Agorist Toolkit - the Human TCP/IP Network

What is the fundamental tool that will enable an agorist economy?

A dictatorship organization is guaranteed to fail. A dictatorship organization can be shut down by killing the dictator. A dictatorship organization can be infiltrated and have its purpose corrupted.

If you're going to organize a distributed organization, there's only one sensible way to do it. Each person needs to act like a node in a TCP/IP network. Actually, a person can be smarter than a node in a TCP/IP network, because a person doesn't just forward and relay messages. A person can think and act on them.

The average person won't be able to understand this principle, that they're expected to act as nodes in a TCP/IP network. However, they don't need to think in those terms. Software will be written that does the hard work for them. Each operation will be translated into human-understandable terms.

Using public/private key cryptography, the identity of the sender and recipient can be guaranteed. If the number of bits in the key is sufficiently large, and the keys are rotated frequently, then it should be secure.

The system should be as easy to use as E-Mail. Ideally, it would be a combination of the E-Mail and wiki formats.

If you want to be able to receive messages from someone, you need to give them your public key. If you like, you can publish a public key for everyone, if you wish to be able to receive mail from anyone. Plaintext messages would be acceptable. However, the system only works if EVERYTHING is encrypted. If only sensitive messages are encrypted, it's easier to attack the system. By encrypting every communication, it's harder to mount an attack. The encryption details would not be a burden to the user, because it would be automated.

The connections would be made like in a BitTorrent network. There is no centralized tracker. Anyone with a static IP address can act as a host. People with a dynamic IP address log into all the hosts they know about, so people can connect with them.

Suppose two users have dynamic IP address, want to communicate, and are not logged in simultaneously. The message would be stored on any host they mutually trust, and the recipient would receive the message the next time he logs in. The message is encrypted, so even if the host computer is compromised, the users won't be compromised.

Already, I've mentioned one operation: send message. As in a TCP/IP network, there would also be an acknowledge message operation. An acknowledgment can be merely an "I got it" message or a reply.

Another operation is trust. Each user can rate how much they trust each other user. A trust rating can be positive or negative. Presumably, a nonnegative trust rating would mean that users could communicate with one another. A negative trust rating would mean that you felt you had been injured in some way. Negative trust ratings would need to be explained.

Notice that trust is NOT transitive. If A trusts B and B trusts C, A does NOT need to know about C's existence. In fact, it is better if A does not know about C unless he needs to deal with him directly. This way, if A is captured by red market agents, he might be forced to disclose his relationship with B, but at least C is protected.

Trust need not be commutative. If there's a centralized well-known authority, a lot of people could trust it even though it doesn't trust them. For example, if a group of people providing service X had a reputation for high quality, a lot of people would trust that group even though that group didn't necessarily trust all potential customers.

What happens if A needs a service that C is providing? In that case, A asks everyone he trusts "Do you know someone who can do X?" If B knows that C can provide X, then B will say "Yes, C does X." If necessary, the request can be propagated more than one level. If A is satisfied with C's work, then A will now say that he trusts C. If C is satisfied with A's payment, then C will now say he trusts A.

This feature, where A asks everyone "Do you know about XXX?" can be called "search". This is superior to a "google search", because A will be asking people for their judgment. A person is always going to be smarter than an algorithm.

Another feature, where A has noteworthy information, is "broadcast". For example, if A discovers that he is being investigated by red market agents, he will "broadcast" that he is being investigated. This will warn all his partners to be careful for awhile. This also could act as a call for help.

Another feature is "credit check". Using the Social Credit Monetary System, suppose A wants to trade with an unknown user D. There is no centralized issuing authority. There is no centralized database where all records are kept, because that represents an attack point. If A is accepting a debt from D, A wants to see if D is a trustworthy partner. A can ask D to disclose his current balances, all his debits and credits. Presumably, some of D's debtors and creditors will be people that A trusts. Then, A can check to see if D's statement of his account matches what the people A trusts say. For example, D can say "credit of +5 from B, debit of -10 to C, debit of -20 to E." If A trusts B and C, A can confirm with B and C. If B's and C's statement match, then A can presume that D's claim of a debit of 20 to E is also correct, even if A doesn't trust E.

Alternatively, if B introduced D to A, B may say "D is trustworthy". In that case, A would hold B accountable if D defaults. Trust can be given as a percentage. For example, B could say "I'm willing to be accountable for 20% of D's debts if he defaults." That could be good enough for A. I'll call this operation "trust certificate".

Summarizing, the operations needed are:

- send message
- acknowledge/reply to message
- search
- broadcast
- credit check
- trust certificate

More operations can be added later, if necessary. The important thing is that every operation can be communicated in a format that is easily understandable by the average person.

It isn't even necessary for everyone to be able to understand this. As long as 1-2% of the people understand the network principles, they can relay and forward messages for other people.

I'm at the point where I'm ready to write the software and start using it, if only there were other interested users.

On the other hand, the most important thing right now is to just raise the general level of awareness of agorism and keep people open to other possibilities. It's neat to think that a piece of software could be very useful in counter-economics, though.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Bank of Portugal's Counterfeit Counterfeit Banknotes

In the late 1920s, the central bank of Portugal was the victim of an interesting crime. The Bank of Portugal hired the London firm of Waterlow & Sons to print its banknotes. Waterlow & Sons specialized in printing banknotes and stamps. At this time, Portugal was on a fiat money standard; its currency was irredeemable. A group of criminals, pretending to be the Bank of Portugal, placed an order for a large quantity of banknotes. Since these notes were printed by the official engraver, they were indistinguishable from the other banknotes.

After several years, an amount equal to 1% of Portugal's GDP had been laundered. A bank teller noticed duplicate serial numbers and the crime was discovered. The Bank of Portugal called in all its currency and re-issued it.

The Bank of Portugal sued Waterlow & Sons in a London court for negligence. The court agreed that negligence had occurred. The court had to determine damages. If it were counterfeit stamps, it would be obvious to award damages equal to the face amount of the stamps. With counterfeit fiat banknotes, it was hard for the court to determine damages. At the time, Portugal was experiencing deflation; expert witnesses argued that the counterfeit banknotes improved the lot of Portugal's citizens by decreasing the amount of deflation. The court could not determine if the number of banknotes properly issued by the Bank of Portugal were greater or lower, due to the counterfeiting. Since fiat money is itself counterfeit, what is the penalty for counterfeit counterfeit money?

The court awarded damages far less than the face amount of the counterfeit counterfeit money. The Bank of Poland's request for damages equal to the face amount of the counterfeit bills was ignored.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ten Steps to Free a Closed Society

There is an interesting article by Naomi Wolf in the Huffington post. It is frequently cited and plagiarized.

Let's turn this around and look at it from an agorist point of view. Starting from a closed society, how would we turn it around and free everyone?

Invoke a Terrifying Enemy

This one is easy. The terrifying enemy is the evil of the red market monopoly on legalized violence and justice. This is more frequently cited as the evil of the state.

Create a Gulag

A gulag is a place or situation of great hardship. The current economic, political, and taxation system can certainly be described as a gulag.

Develop a Thug Caste

This is easy. Agorist protection agencies need to secretly hire policemen and other red market enforcers to aid them. They will be secretly hired to behave honestly (i.e., betray their office).

Policemen already accept bribes to look the other way in possession of drug cases. They can certainly be bribed to ignore grey market economic activity, which they could much more easily pass off without guilt or suspicion. They could always claim they didn't notice it!

Set Up an Internal Surveillance System

This is necessary for the agorist community. Untrustworthy people must be banned. All participants must have a high level of trust in one another. You need to make sure your trading partners won't rat you out to the red market enforcers.

This trust rule will be enforceable, due to the high utility of the agorist community, once established. If you are untrustworthy, you'll be banned from participating in the free market! That's the way free markets should work!

Harass Citizen's Groups

The red market is already doing this. Consider Student Tasered at John Kerry Speech. It is important for people to know that voting is pointless. It is important for people to be completely convinced that reform won't occur within the current economic system. A completely different approach is necessary.

There is no need to directly spend additional effort on this.

Engage in Arbitrary Detention and Release

The red market is already doing this to help destroy its own credibility. There's no need to spend extra effort here.

Agorist police agencies will be perfectly fair. If someone is held for a week, they are reimbursed if it was wrongfully done.

Target Key Individuals

It is important to target the most productive and smartest 1% of the population for an agorist revolution. Once they start and work out most of the details, everyone else will follow.

Control the Press

It is important to identify which blogs and forums have useful information and which are full of nonsense. This must be tracked. Everyone has their own preferences. Software could be written to facilitate this.

Dissent Equals Treason

Anyone who asserts that "the State" has any legitimacy at all should be ostracized if possible. Anyone who complains to the red market about an agorist transaction, before exhausting all agorist resolution methods, should be banned from the community. I think that complaining to the red market at all is an offense that merits a ban, because tipping off the red market places many people at risk.

Suspend the Rule of Law

People need to know that "the law" as presented by the red market is completely illegitimate. There are only two valid forms of law. There is common law, which says you can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else. There is contract law, which says that you should keep all contracts that were entered honestly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is the Stock Market Worth Anything?

I'm beginning to think that an agorist revolution is a historic inevitability.

As the agorist revolution occurs, there will be hyperinflation. More and more economic activity will occur in the agorist economy. Fewer and fewer goods will be traded in dollar-denominated transactions. The supply of dollars will continue to increase. Therefore, there will be hyperinflation. Eventually, the US government will completely collapse.

At this point, will the stock market be worth anything? Large corporations are only profitable because they receive massive government subsidies. Without this subsidy, corporations are useless. Corporations will no longer be able to shield people from liability for their bad actions. In an agorist economy, everyone is individually responsible for what they do.

A large corporations is optimized solely for extracting perks from the government. A large corporation is *NOT* optimized for efficiency.

In a truly free market, there's no such thing as a limited liability corporation. A limited liability corporation is the artificial creation of a coercive government. In a truly free market, management and owners will be held accountable in the event of a bankruptcy. A group of people are free to pretend that they're a corporation, if they want to. However, a corporation has no special legal status in a truly free market.

Large corporations are only possible in the presence of a coercive government. In a truly free market, there cannot be a stock market, because the buyers would be assuming a potentially unlimited liability. In a truly free market, there's no such thing as a stock market. Perversely, a stock market is only possible in a communist dictatorship.

Corporate ownership is functionally equivalent to government ownership. After the government collapses, everything will be considered to be unowned property. Who has the strongest claim to the property formerly owned by the government? The people who work in a factory would have the strongest claim to its assets. After all, without the knowledge of the people who operate the machinery, it's useless. Further, many large corporations might be forced into bankruptcy before the government itself falls. Most goods will be produced in the agorist economy instead of by large corporations. For pink market industries, such as communications and energy, the agorist community will hire the workers to continue performing their repairs and maintenance. There should be no interruption in electricity, phone service, or other key services. Key industries might be bought by agorist associations before the red market falls.

In other words, every single share of stock in every corporation is completely worthless. After the red market falls, large corporations won't be profitable without the massive government subsidies they receive now.

There probably won't be a reliable way to convert wealth from the old economic system to the new economic system. Gold and silver would work, but gold and silver are useless unless you have a trusted trading partner. Someone who suddenly appeared with a huge quantity of gold or silver would be viewed with suspicion. Besides, even if the international banking cartel is hoarding gold and silver, their power would be limited to the value of the actual gold and silver; they wouldn't be able to control the whole world's economy like they do now. The total value of the world economy is much more than the total value of all the gold and silver there is.

If you own real estate with a mortgage, it'll be easy for to pay it off as hyperinflation occurs. However, rental properties might not be worth anything. With the government gone, everything is unowned property. Why does the landlord have a more valid claim to owning a rental property than the current tenants? The tenants might decide to continue hiring the former landlord to do repairs, but rents will be lower.

On the other hand, a landlord may reach an agreement with a tenant before the red market falls. In that case, the tenant would continue to recognize the landlord as the valid owner. However, someone who rents a property with the agreement "You're still the owner after the red market falls" should be required to pay a rent LOWER than the current free-market rent.

What investments will hold their value? You'll probably be able to keep your primary residence; your mortgage payments will be easy as hyperinflation occurs. You'll be able to keep any physical gold and silver in your possession, but you would need trading partners in order to be able to spend it. You'll be able to keep goods and tools. Fiat money and stock investments will probably be worthless.

Some people are hedging by buying farmland and retreating to the countryside. That probably is unnecessary. In the current food distribution network, most of the work is done by for-profit workers. That should remain intact. However, the economy would probably become decentralized and people will move away from big cities.

Summarizing, the stock market is probably not going to be worth anything after the red market collapses. That does not mean you should immediately abandon stock investments; the end is still at least 20 years away. In the meantime, stock investments are still the safest investments.

However, you're probably better off working for equity in the new economic system, rather than working for worthless equity in the obsolete economic system. You should only do enough work in the obsolete economic system so you can survive until after the government collapses.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reader Mail #8 - Recovering From Illness

I'm still trying to reorganize my posting schedule and recover my concentration ability after my illness. It's very odd. I feel that I can think more clearly and less clearly at the same time.

On The Transistor, UFO, and WMD Conspiracy Theory, an anonymous reader writes:

One reason aliens would visit and not give us their technology; we haven't advanced past the nuclear age without destroying ourselves. One could theorize there are probably other worlds out there where aliens visited and gave their technology to. But those worlds had not passed through the stage where they had the ability to wipe themselves out, and didn't wipe themselves out. Once given the superior technology, those civilizations became dominion-seeking conquerors, and now it is a "galactic" law to not give technology to planets that have not passed through the era where the ability to destroy all of civilization exists.

"Do aliens exist" is a topic most obscurely debated in science fiction, and most accurately debated in mental institutions.

There are too many coincidences. Only some kind of extra-terrestrial influence explains the current economic and political system. It's as if the current economic system is being intentionally set up for an agorist revolution, as if it's the only possible historic conclusion.

I'm going further ahead. The aliens have actively disrupted human invention of technology that could harm them. Once they intervened, they're responsible for everything that happens afterwards.

On An Interesting Discovery (I admit that was a low-quality post, written while I was sick. Fortunately, this comment is off-topic.), an anonymous reader writes:

a great quote for you from here:

What chance would the following proposition have of being passed into law by a democratic Parliament? “In the event of this Parliament, or Senate, declaring an act of war, it will immediately become incumbent on the members of the House who voted for the war to be seconded into front-line military action for its duration.” Then and only then would it appear that there is even a glimmer of reason and justice and honesty in the procedures of the democratic system.

Why is everyone quoting Islamic articles in my blog? I don't have much background in that, and I'm not particularly interested in all Christianity-type slave religions.

Anyway, that's the whole point of the red market. The leaders profit from bad decisions, and other people suffer the costs. It's Distributed Costs and Concentrated Benefits. Everyone is injured a little, not enough to cause an outright revolt. The red market leaders benefit immensely.

All government-related crimes are a variation of distributed costs and concentrated benefits. Only government has the power to steal (i.e. tax) for a consistent profit.

Redpillguy says:

The guy sounds agorist:

I prefer to follow blogs that are updated more often than annually.

On Obama for President! - Bring on Universal Health Care, Curtis writes:

"Purchasing medical care on the free market is going to be a crime!"

Hey boss, welcome to my world. For some of us out here it's already illegal. Pigs I tell you, pigs. They need to quit ruining lives and get a real frickin' job.

There is no free market for medical care anywhere in the world, and there hasn't been such a market for 100+ years. Government licensing requirements for doctors restrict the supply and drive up prices. It's pointless to address other medical care reform until the problem with the supply of doctors is addressed.

On Obama for President! - Bring on Universal Health Care, an anonymous reader writes:

Look what they did to Hoxey and Rife. Medical care has been gov't agent controlled and cartelized since the 1900s. Clinton's and Obama's proposals just changes the frog pot setting from medium-high to high.

They've got the technology to control people in every way (probably stuff we haven't even imagined). They've dumbed us down and neutered our survival instincts. They have especially targeted men and boys. They've got an electronic financial control system in place, ready to roll out and cancel previous debts right after the coming economic crisis. They own most agricultural land and are screwing with the food genetically. It's going to take more than me moving your lawn and getting paid under the table to bring such a system down.

Hoxey and Rife? I've never heard about them? Is that about some sort of alternative cancer treatment?

I'd believe that some pretty incredible technology is being withheld from the general public. That's why the agorist community needs to gather enough resources to start its own independent research.

I give "mowing your lawn" as a low risk starting point. If you can work as a doctor off the books, and can find willing trustworthy patients, good for you. If you work as an agorist doctor, you avoid all the government licensing requirements.

On Reader Mail #2 - Collected Comments, Ineffabelle writes:

Also, as far as mortgages go, housing prices are artificially inflated right now because of our financial system. Bankers like to lend money for houses because they can take the house if the person defaults. This drives up the price of houses relative to labor or non-resellable assets.

In a free money system, houses would probably never cost more than a person could save up in a reasonable amount of time, so there would be no reason for mortgages.

There still are mortgages in a free market. A person buys a house when they're 20 or 30 and gets to use it and pay for it at the same time. It would still be a slightly better deal than renting.

In a free market, housing prices are much more stable, so there's less risk to the borrower and to the lender.

On The Imported Labor and Outsourcing Subterfuge, Ineffabelle writes:

This reminds me of an idea I had about the difference between Usury (i.e. The Compound Interest Scam) and interest rates in a free market.
In a free market, people with saved up money would be able to make loans at interest, because money today is worth more than money tomorrow to people. If person X takes out a loan at 6% interest, the money supply will decrease overall by a certain amount, yes... however presumably he will have created more wealth than this in order for the loan to be worth taking out in the first place. The interest rate could never rise above the overall rate of wealth creation or no one would take out loans and it would drop again. In fact, Hoppe demonstrates that interest rates will constantly fall in a free market, because people will accumulate enough savings eventually that loans won't be very much in demand at all.

In the current economic system, it doesn't pay for the average person to loan out money, because the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates artificially low. Loaning out money to help start small businesses is a losing proposition in the current economic system. The big money is made by borrowing from the Federal Reserve and loaning to large corporations who have a government-guaranteed monopoly or oligopoly.

On What's Your Taxation Rate?, redpillguy says:

Regulatory compliance cost to the economy is 14%:

That is only one slice of regulation costs. If you look at all regulations, it's even higher. You also have to consider the effect of regulations as a disincentive to competition and starting a new business.

On Reader Mail #7a, redpillguy says:

Christianity also teaches that "People in positions of authority are far less evil than the average person."

Authors Babiak and Hare in the book "Snakes in Suits"
assert that psychopaths are attracted to the corporate culture and rise to power, because their ruthlessness is rewarded.

That is one of the signs of a defective economic and political system: misbehavior and psychopaths are rewarded.

On Are You a Corporation, David Houser writes:

Sheldon Richman has a good batch of posts on IRS protesters and where they go wrong:

I don't know that he's ever gotten into the all caps thing though.

There are two separate arguments for tax protesters. The first is "The income tax is legally wrong", which is sufficiently muddled for me to make a definitive conclusion. The second is "The income tax is morally wrong", which I consider to be obvious.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Strike the Root

There is an interesting phrase, frequently cited on the Internet.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. (Henry David Thoreau)
In a certain sense, this is true. There are many websites that expose the evils of the Federal Reserve and income tax. I think I have understood their arguments, and explained them in a simpler form.

However, none of these websites propose a workable solution. Voting won't work, because voting is defective. Working harder is pointless. The more I work, the more income taxes I pay. The more taxes I pay, the stronger the red market becomes. Legally, I cannot work without supporting the bad guys. The current economic and political system is one of absolute, perfect enslavement. The existence of those other websites, hacking at the branches, have helped me formulate a plan for striking at the root.

An agorist revolution is the only workable solution. Fortunately, living in the USA, it's acceptable for me to write about what an agorist revolution would look like. It's acceptable for me to write software and release it into the public domain so others can use it. All I need is to find other people who'd be willing to trade with me.

An agorist revolution is the only solution that strikes at the root. The only solution is to do productive work and have the government not confiscate it or regulate it. People need to work and pay each other in real money. That's the only solution that decreases the power of the bad guys and increases the power of the good guys. All the other solutions I've read of are merely hacking at branches.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Are you a Corporation?

I've read this conspiracy theory on several websites. It's incredibly complicated. I'm concerned that it might be true.

In the eyes of the government and financial industry, everyone is a corporation.

That's kind of incredible, isn't it? Let's look at one piece of evidence. Take out your driver's license or any other government-issued ID. Look at your name. It's in ALL CAPS. For example, if your name is John Smith, your driver's license says JOHN SMITH. Look at any financial statement. Look at any legal document. Your name is *ALWAYS* in ALL CAPS.

There is a subtle distinction. JOHN SMITH is a corporation. John Smith is the actual person. The JOHN SMITH corporation has as one of its assets, John Smith the actual person. In the eyes of the government and financial industry, John Smith the person owns nothing. Everything is owned by JOHN SMITH the corporation.

Why is this distinction important? The 16th amendment gave Congress the power to tax incomes. At the time, income was defined to be corporate profits. That's what gives Congress the power to tax your income. Your income is profit for the JOHN SMITH corporation, and it's subject to the income tax just like any other corporation.

I don't don't see why it matters. For all practical purposes, the JOHN SMITH corporation is identical to John Smith the person. It's still bothering me. I've been looking at all my bank statements and government documents. I'm looking for an example where my name is *NOT* spelled in ALL CAPS.

This fictitious corporation with the same name as you is frequently called a "Straw Man", which you should not confuse with The Strawman Fallacy. This is an extremely complicated legal argument. I think it is the justification for applying income taxes to individual wages, contrary to the original intent of the income tax. Your wages are profits for the "straw man" corporation, and are therefore taxable. It sounds like legal nonsense to me.

I'm not really interested in these subtle legal loopholes and tricks. The bottom line is: The Federal Reserve is Evil, The Income Tax is Evil, and Taxation is Theft. It's important to not be confused between "what is legal and illegal" and "what is right and what is wrong". The Federal Reserve and income taxes are obviously morally wrong, no matter what their legal status.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stock Market Volatility Explained

Most stock market volatility is actually money supply volatility.

It is unreasonable to think that a corporation like Coca-Cola is worth $1/share more today than it was yesterday, if there was no news released that affected Coca-Cola or the overall economy. However, stocks like Coca-Cola go up or down $1 seemingly at random.

The problem is not volatility in the value of Coca-Cola. It is volatility in the value of the dollar itself. Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, the money supply is always growing and shrinking. As loans are repaid, the money supply shrinks. As new loans are issued, the money supply expands.

In the long run, prices in the stock market increase. Alternatively, you could say that, in the long run, the value of the dollar decreases. With debt-based money, there needs to be continuous inflation or the system collapses. If deflation did occur, it would benefit the average person too much. The average person typically holds mostly cash.

Each stock has different sensitivity to changes in the money supply. An established large corporation like Coca-Cola is relatively unaffected by changes in the money supply. A growing company with lots of leverage is very sensitive to changes in the money supply. A leveraged company loves money supply expansion, because that means it can repay its debts easier and there's more money around for people to buy its products. A leveraged company hates money supply contraction, because that means it's harder to repay its debts and it's harder to sell its products.

The Federal Reserve says that it tries to manage the money supply so that the rate of inflation is constant over a long period of time. This makes it easiest for large corporations to plan. The Federal Reserve states that it tries to avoid abrupt money supply contractions. I wonder if the people who work at the Federal Reserve are dumb enough to believe this? Occasional abrupt money supply contractions are an inevitable consequence of debt-based money. Some other factor always gets the blame; it's never the fundamental structural defect in the monetary system. The international banking cartel loves the occasional sharp money supply contraction. That forces businesses into bankruptcy and allows banks to confiscate their assets. By the time the bankruptcy is completed, the economy is in boom phase again and the stolen property can be sold at an attractive price. Periods of stable inflation encourage corporations and people to load up on debt, and the abrupt money supply contraction forces a lot of them into bankruptcy.

Stock market analysts come up with all sorts of silly explanations for stock price volatility. Some of them use the current value of the 3rd derivative of a company's earnings to extrapolate what will happen for the next 20 years. Don't be fooled by any of these explanations.

The real reason for stock price volatility is money supply volatility. In the long run, the Federal Reserve has no choice but to expand the money supply. That's why the standard advice of "dollar cost averaging" is sound. When stock prices go down, you should buy, because the Federal Reserve is guaranteed to expand the money supply in the long run.

Stocks tend to rise faster than the rate of money supply growth. After all, if consumer prices rise slower than the rate of money supply growth, prices elsewhere must grow faster than the rate of money supply growth. Stock prices rise faster than the rate of money supply growth because large corporations and the financial industry are the recipients of a massive government subsidy.

Almost all stock price volatility is really money supply volatility. Different corporations have a different degree of sensitivity to the expansion/contraction of the money supply. Don't be fooled by alternate explanations.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Agorist Toolkit - Tax Avoidance

The whole point of an agorist economy is to avoid taxation and regulation. What tricks could be used to avoid taxation and government confiscation of wealth?

1. Set up a trust or corporation. Trusts are used by wealthy people to dodge taxes. This would be a trust or corporation set up for the benefit of many people. Assets would be held in the trust, but the trust rules would respect the property rights of individuals. Transactions between trust members might not be taxable. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if this would work.

2. Set up a religion. There are all sorts of tax breaks for religion. Maybe it would be worthwhile to incoporate as a religion. The "First Church of Tax Avoidance" sounds as legitimate as all other religions, but government regulators might not see it that way.

I don't like options (1) and (2) that much. They still involve reporting activity to the government. The laws can be changed at any time and loopholes closed. Loopholes that benefit a single wealthy person will always be present. Loopholes that collectively benefit a lot of people would soon be closed.

3. Every transaction is a gift. Gifts up to $10,000/year are not considered taxable or reportable. As long as each transaction is a gift, it is not reportable. I don't know what the IRS' attitude would be towards this. On the other hand, who's going to be telling them about the transactions?

I like option (3). It's good because it doesn't involve reporting your activity to the red market at all.

The IRS gives an example on its webpage. A dentist trades with a plumber, free dental service for free plumbing. Both must report it as taxable income. However, what if the dentist gives the plumber a gift of free dental work? The plumber gives the dentist a gift of free plumbing. Is that reportable? Besides, what dentist and plumber are stupid enough to report their activity to the IRS?

Notice that transactions over $10,000 could be facilitated. Suppose A wants to give $20,000 to B. He can give $10,000 to C and $10,000 to D, who in turn each give $10,000 to B. This would not be reportable, if all transactions were gifts. If payment is made in physical silver or gold, instead of paper money, it would be much harder to trace the transaction.

Another option that might help is bribes paid to tax collectors, to help them look the other way. As long as the tax collector underestimated the amount of grey market activity, the bribe demanded might be reasonable. On the other hand, this is a risky approach to take; you might face greater criminal penalties if doublecrossed. Besides, any payments to government agents defeat the entire purpose of a grey market economy. Perhaps some agorist will set up a profitable "red market agent bribery" agency?

I think the "gift" approach is best. Each transaction will be, in the eyes of the participants, a "gift". Agorist contracts are not enforceable in red market courts anyway, so all transactions might as well legally be recorded as gifts. As long as transactions are under $10k/year between two parties, they are not reportable. Further, using 3rd party intermediaries could be used for larger transactions to stay under the $10k/year threshold. Besides, if I'm doing more than $10k/year of agorist business with you, I probably trust you and could pay you directly with a quantity of gold or silver, if necessary.

Another important point is DON'T KEEP RECORDS! Obviously, you have to keep a record of all current debts and credits. However, all completed transactions should have the records destroyed. This limits the effectiveness of red market agents who might demand to see your records. Corporate management uses this trick all the time. Corporate "document retention" policies are effectively "document destruction" policies; they intentionally keep the minimum records the law requires. Destroying evidence before you receive a subpoena is not a crime.

The best approach is maximum stealth to avoid detection. It might help if you were operating a white market and grey market business simultaneously. This way, your activities would be less suspicious. Anyone demanding to see your business records would see the white market records. On the other hand, the IRS frequently cracks down on small business owners, under the allegation of tax avoidance. It might be better to not be officially operating any business at all.

I realized something else. The average person does not think that barter transactions are subject to the income tax! This means that it probably would be feasible to pursue a jury nullification defense if an agorist community member was being held for trial for tax evasion. Unfortunately, trial by jury has been almost totally repealed, so a jury nullification defense is risky.

Another important point is to maximize the government's costs when it attempts to seize assets. If the red market seizes $50,000 of your property, and you force the government to spend $200,000 in collection, that's a net loss for the government. Right now, the bad guys control all of the world's wealth, so that's a losing proposition. However, as the agorist economy grows, it will begin to pay to maximize the collection costs for the bad guys. Agorist insurance associations will reimburse you for your loss, provided you maximize the red market's cost of collection. On the other hand, it might be practical to accept reasonable plea bargains to avoid wasting time. That's an economic decision that can be made when needed.

Summarizing, the agorist community should record each transaction, legally, as a gift. As long as both sides of the transaction are not completed simultaneously, it's more believable that it's a gift. For example, A volunteers to fix B's plumbing. Another day, B gives a gift of a free meal to C. Another time, C gives a gift of a free home-built air conditioner to A. If the payments balance in the long-run, it works out. If A had a net deficit, he could give a gift of physical silver or gold to correct his imbalance.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reader Mail #7a - Screwed Over by the State

In Student Tasered at John Kerry Speech, two anonymous readers said:

It was shocking the way they treated that kid.

I'm sure the student was shocked that those cops would do that to him.

That's enough puns for now. Twice in one post is sufficient.

In Reader Mail #7, redpillguy writes:

On "I was just following orders", in the book "The Science of Good and Evil", author Michael Shermer tries to explain the human psychology of how individuals can do things that are morally repugnant. The "I was just following orders" reasoning moves the individual 1 step away from the act; the exact same psychology is at play when the SS officer commanded soldiers to turn the gas on in the gas chamber. They feel removed from the act.

Here is the psychology in action: You are standing on a train platform. You see a runaway train that is about to kill 20 people. You can save them, by throwing a switch, but 1 person will be sacrificed. Most people will say "yes" to throwing the switch. Now, if instead of the switch, you have to PUSH the 1 person onto the tracks, to save the 20. Suddenly the act is much more difficult. You are far less removed from the action of killing that 1 person.

I touched on this book in my post The Pie is as Big as We Want It To Be.

I haven't read that book. Lately, I've only been reading things that are available for free on the Internet. I think that amateur authors tend to have better stuff than "professional" writers. Someone who is writing for a paycheck has to pander to the least common denominator, to insure sufficient sales. I'm interested in reading what the people in the top 0.01%-1% are writing, and they aren't able to profitably write for a mass audience.

The current economic and political system ensures that the details are fully abstracted away from the people who do bad things. Consider the example of someone who refuses to pay income taxes. Politicians pass laws requiring people to pay taxes. A person working at the IRS notices a problem. An attorney prosecutes the person for paying taxes. A judge supervises the trial. The policemen are just following the judge's orders. The jury usually does what the judge and prosecutor tell them. Prison guards manage the person while he is in prison. The responsibility is diluted among so many people that bad things happen without anyone feeling accountable. The weakest link in the chain is policemen. If they refused to obey the judge's illegal orders, the red market would have no power. Unfortunately, policemen are trained to blindly follow orders without questioning them. About 95% of the time, this is good advice for the policemen. That makes it easier for them to do bad things once in a while.

Consider The Subprime Mortgage Lending Scam. The people who work for the Federal Reserve aren't responsible for The Compound Interest Paradox. The people who work at the Federal Reserve aren't aware of the corrupt nature of the monetary system. They are doing the best they can, given the constraint of working under a corrupt monetary system. If someone was smart enough to understand The Compound Interest Paradox, they wouldn't be selected to work at the Federal Reserve. The banks are doing the best they can to earn a profit. If they didn't issue mortgages, one of their competitors would. The banks need to foreclose, because they have to look after their own balance sheet. The judges and policemen who confiscate your house are just doing their jobs. They aren't aware of the unjust nature of the monetary system and The Compound Interest Paradox. They don't understand that a certain number of bankruptcies are a statistical necessity built into the economic system.

The principle of the current economic and political system is one where nobody specific gets blamed whenever something bad happens. The responsibility is diluted, and no single person is every fully accountable. For serious red market offenses, someone specific is blamed but the underlying problem is ignored or exacerbated.

In the agorist economy, most businesses will be relatively small. Without limited liability corporations, there's a natural limit to the size of a business. Whenever something bad happens, a specific person will almost always be clearly responsible. Losses due to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, can always be insured for the right price. Losses due to incompetence or theft would not be insurable. In the current economic and political system, the red market provides insurance in cases of incompetence or theft.

In Reader Mail #6a - Media Bias and Anarchy, an anonymous reader says:

The Christian teaching of human depravity is actually an argument against centralized power.

That isn't exactly true.

Christianity teaches that people are intrinsically evil, BUT priests have a special property that they are not evil. At a minimum, priests are far less evil than the average person.

This is the second side to the main lie of Christianity. This is the reason Christianity is such a great religion for slaves. Christianity also teaches that "People in positions of authority are far less evil than the average person." This doesn't just apply to priests. It also applies to politicians, policemen, lawyers, judges, CEOs, and teachers. According to Christianity, the person in the position of authority is there because he is less evil than average.

In practice, the opposite happens. The most evil people are attracted to positions of authority. Positions of authority allow the most evil people to do the most damage. Positions of authority allow the most evil people to steal, while lying to everyone else that they are actually good.

I suspect that an average honest person, put into a position of authority, would become corrupted by the position.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone said:

In "The Stare Decisis Scam", FSK says that the Supreme Court has ruled that defense attorneys may not remind jurors of their jury nullification privilege. What is the history of this and the reason?

You could have asked me directly.

The big decision is "Sparf vs U.S.".

Originally, the ruling said that judges are not required to remind juries of their jury nullification privilege. That decision was later interpreted to mean that defense attorneys are BARRED from reminding juries of their jury nullification privilege. I believe this decision was made by lower courts, but the Supreme Court never reviewed or reversed this practice.

I'm not sure if this ruling applies to someone representing themselves. An attorney has to obey the judge's orders, under threat of disbarment. An individual can present this argument with less fear of retribution. The judge could declare a mistrial, but the individual could just make the jury nullification argument again at his next trial.

Overall, the reason for repealing jury nullification is that judges, lawyers, and politicians want to control everyone else. If juries start thinking for themselves about the difference between right and wrong, that could be a serious problem for the bad guys. Jury nullification is a potentially serious problem, because the red market cannot completely eliminate trial by jury without admitting that the USA is now a dictatorship. Biased jury selection methods and the dumbing-down of the population have gone a long way towards repealing jury nullification.

There have been many types of cases where preventing jury nullification is useful:
  • In cases where it was a corporation suing an individual, juries were almost always ruling in favor of the individual.
  • In the era of prohibition, jury nullification prevented many convictions for possession or sale of alcohol.
  • In the civil rights era, juries were nullifying trials where white people were accused of murdering or injuring black people.
  • Medical marijuana and possession of marijuana are places where jury nullification could be used.
  • Possession of a gun is another place where jury nullification could be used.
  • When Dr. Kevorkian was being tried for assisted suicide, jury nullification was an issue in his trials.
Of course, there are two big ones that the red market never wants to see:
  • Jury nullification in taxation cases.
  • Jury nullification in cases where a bank is confiscating someone's home for failing to pay their mortgage.
I believe jury nullification is justified in BOTH instances. Arguing against taxes, especially the income tax, should be obvious. Only slaves pay taxes/tribute.

When a bank writes a mortgage, it is borrowing at the Fed Funds Rate, currently 4.75%, and lending at the mortgage rate, currently 6.5%. The bank does NOTHING to earn its spread of 1.75%, other than its role as a middleman. In order for a loan to be a binding contract, something of TANGIBLE value must be provided. Since Federal Reserve Points are intrinsically worthless, mortgage contracts aren't really binding. Something of tangible value is held as collateral, a house, but nothing of tangible value is provided in exchange. Zero-interest contracts aren't valid. A zero-interest contract is a contract where one party doesn't provide anything tangible to the counter-party.

However, I say that voting or trial by jury have no legitimacy whatsoever. Why do 12 people, chosen using biased methods, have a right to deny me freedom or take my property, even if I haven't injured anyone?

In Did the USA Declare Bankruptcy, an anonymous reader writes:

It's "martial" law, not "marshal". Keep your blogs coming. I wish more people had your understanding.

I looked around, and the "marshal law" typo is reproduced elsewhere.

It could be more accurately described as "'whatever the judge feels like it' law" or "'whoever has the most guns' law".

I've been considering ways to spread my message to more people. I've been thinking of creating a standup comedy act based on my blog.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

What is the purpose of government?

Superficially, the purpose of government is to maintain the power and wealth of the upper class. The purpose of government is to enslave the poor and middle class with an unfair monetary system, an unfair taxation system, an unfair political system, and excessive government regulations.

Government was designed to keep people from destroying themselves and their planet, until a certain level of sophistication is reached. Now, it's time to take off the training wheels and get rid of government. The UFO conspiracy theorists are partially wrong. There isn't a government conspiracy to hide aliens from the general public. Government itself is an alien conspiracy! Fnord!

Obama for President! - Bring on Universal Health Care!

In a previous post, I endorsed Ron Paul for President. Ron Paul is opposed to the Federal Reserve and income tax. I am nearly completely convinced that the Federal Reserve is evil and the income tax is evil.

However, I am now thinking that an agorist revolution is a historic inevitability. Thinking like an agorist, I *DON'T* want Ron Paul to be elected President. Ron Paul would be able to delay the inevitable collapse of the US government. I don't want Ron Paul to be President, precisely because he is the most qualified.

I don't really have to worry about Ron Paul being elected President. The voting system is defective. I think Ron Paul is being set up for defeat.

Looking at the remaining candidates, who is least qualified? What is the stupidest policy the government could enact?

Looking over all the candidates' proposals, Universal Health Care is the stupidest policy. If Obama is elected President, that might be seen as a mandate for Universal Health Care.

Universal Health Care is going to be a spectacular disaster. I can't wait for it to be enacted. Therefore, I have to endorse Obama for President.

Universal Health Care will completely remove the free market from medical care. All medical care will be paid by the government. It will be illegal to purchase health care on the free market.

Under programs like Medicare, the government pays for certain treatments. However, people are still free to purchase better medical treatment outside of Medicare. Under Universal Health Care, the only way to get treatment will be through the government's program.

Purchasing medical care on the free market is going to be a crime! That's going to be a spectacular disaster. I can't wait!

That's precisely the sort of scenario where an agorist community would thrive. The free market for health care should be driven completely to the grey market. Sick people should be forced to break the law in order to receive appropriate treatment.

Perversely, thinking like a true agorist, I want the *LEAST* qualified candidate to be elected. I want to elect candidates that will do their best to destroy government credibility; that's why President Bush was such an effective President. Fortunately, the least qualified candidate will get elected if I do nothing. The Supreme Leader of Humanity is already manipulating the least qualified people to be the political and economic leaders.

After further analysis, Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan also seems like a disaster. Requiring people to have health insurance is brilliant. That's a ton of guaranteed income for insurance companies. It's a regressive tax that hits poor people the most. I couldn't think of a worse plan. I'm currently undecided as to whose plan is worse - Hillary Clinton's or Obamas. I endorse the worse health care reform plan.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's Your Taxation Rate?

What's your effective taxation rate? Have you ever bothered calculating it?

There are two rates that matter. The first is the total taxation rate. This is the percentage of your wealth that the red market is directly confiscating. The second is the marginal taxation rate. That is the percentage of wealth the red market confiscates if you do additional productive work. For example, your average taxation rate might be 25% but your marginal rate is 40%. If you get paid $10k more, you only get $6k more after taxes.

I'm in the 25% federal tax bracket (approximately). However, I also pay 15% in Social Security and Medicare taxes. Half the tax is paid by my employer, but it's still a tax. If the employer-paid tax were less, that would be more money available for wages. Also, my employer pays unemployment insurance, but I won't include that in this calculation.

My employer has to pay property taxes and taxes on his profits. This takes away from the money that is available for salaries. I'm not including this in my total so far.

I won't include state income taxes in this calculation, which varies by state. That's another few percent.

So far, I'm at a 40% taxation rate. If I buy something in a store, I pay a sales tax of around 8%. That brings my total taxation rate to 45%. However, that store has to pay income taxes on its profits. The income tax rate on businesses is around 25-40%. If you figure that the business has a goal of 10% profit margins, that means that it actually has to have a margin of 12-14% to make its after-tax profit target. My price is 2-4% higher because of the taxes the business I'm purchasing from owes. It's even higher if you take into account income taxes paid by the suppliers of the store; all of them have higher prices because of the taxes they owe.

That brings my total taxation rate over 50%.

There's no "free market" in taxation rates. Everyone pays the same lousy rates.

There are other taxes. I have to pay property taxes on my residence. Even if I rent, my landlord has to pay property taxes and passes the cost to me as part of my rent. Further, due to the property tax expense and his own income taxes, my landlord has to charge me higher rent to make his target return on capital. However, I can live in a lesser residence than what I can fully afford and minimize the effect of this tax. It still adds 1-2% to my total tax burden.

There's the inflation tax, which erodes the value of cash in my pocket and bank account at a rate of 6-10% each year. I can minimize the amount of cash I hold to dodge this tax. It's easier for wealthy people to dodge this tax, because they keep most of their savings in inflation-protected assets.

The government imposes regulations on my employer or other businesses. These regulations have compliance costs, which show up as higher prices. For example, it's common for corporations to pay 1% or more of their profit or more on tax compliance and accounting regulation compliance.

The government's regulations and Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy cause most industries to be controlled by oligopolies. Due to the oligopolies, I pay higher prices and receive lower quality products, compared to what I'd receive in a free market. The oligopolies can extract a higher profit than they could in a free market. In other words, they collect economic rent. This is effectively a form of a tax. The portion of my purchases that go to excessive corporate profits is a tax.

I buy electricity from a company that has a government-endorsed monopoly. My local phone service is from a company with a government-endorsed monopoly. My internet service is from a company with a government-endorsed monopoly. My cell phone is from a company with a government-endorsed oligopoly. I pay higher prices because of these monopolies.

There's the "planned obsolescence" tax. Large corporations intentionally make low-quality products. For example, a car is designed to last only 3-5 years, so you'll buy a new car. A light bulb is designed to burn out after a certain period of time; it is possible to design longer-lasting light bulbs, but they aren't sold because then you won't buy as many. As long as all cartel members offer the same low quality, there's no market penalty for offering a low quality product. Further, most consumers are poorly educated; even if a corporation didn't follow the cartel rules and offered high quality, they would not get enough additional sales to compensate for the cost of higher quality.

The Federal Reserve encourages most industries to be an oligopoly or monopoly. The Federal Reserve makes sure that employment is always around 5%, which decreases the bargaining power of workers. Whenever unemployment starts getting too low, the Federal Reserve raises interest rates so employers lay off workers. I have a "voluntary" employment agreement with my employer. However, due to the huge bias caused by the Federal Reserve and government regulations, this is not an equal bargaining relationship. Most employers have a monopoly/oligopoly market position. Quite frankly, it makes no difference if they hire extremely skilled workers or barely qualified workers. There's no market for the extra value a highly skilled worker could provide. Due to the unfair employment environment, I pay a "tax" in the form of a lower salary than I would receive otherwise in a truly free market.

There is the commuter tax. The average American spends 2 hours per day commuting. If you assume a 9 hour workday, this is a tax of 2/11 or 18.2%. Workers need to move to a centralized location to work so that their employer can spy on them and make sure they are working. Workers are not evaluated based on actual work performed; they are evaluated based on time spent working. If you could work at home and get all your work done in only 5 hours, your employer would feel cheated. Zoning regulations force work locations to be distant from residential areas. Under a decentralized economy, people would work in their basements or in small businesses near their homes. The time spent commuting is purely wasted, both the actual time wasted and the cost of commuting, by car or by public transportation. There's no reason why people can't work in or near their homes, other than the exploitative nature of the current economic system.

That's what makes this calculation so hard. I don't just pay direct taxes myself. Whenever someone I do business with pays a tax, they pass the cost back to me. Taxes paid by my employer show up as lower salaries. Taxes paid by businesses show up as higher prices. Government regulations are also taxes, because of the effort expended ensuring compliance. Oligopolies raise prices. This is a form of a tax because government policies encourage oligopoly formation. Due to the lack of a free market, I receive a lower salary than I would in a truly free market.

Adding up all the taxes I was able to identify brought the total to 50%. I live in a state with relatively high taxes, making my burden higher. There probably are some taxes that I haven't noticed or included here. My total effective taxation rate is probably 66% or mote. If you include everything, it might even be as high as 90% or 95% or more. It's hard to tell, because many of these taxes are cleverly hidden. Frequently, when other people pay taxes, the cost frequently winds up being passed on to me, which makes me the effective payer.

With a taxation rate of 50-95% or more, there would be incredible productivity gains from working in an agorist economy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Netbank Shut Down By The Compound Interest Paradox

Recently, Internet bank Netbank was forced into bankruptcy. Most of its assets were bought out by a larger competitor.

Netbank was a relatively small bank, with around $2.5B in assets. Large international banks like Citigroup have a market capitalization over $200B.

By law, Netbank was required in invest a large percentage of its assets in consumer loans and mortgages. We are currently at the end of the bust phase of the business cycle. The weakest debtors are forced into bankruptcy. This is a statistical necessity imposed by The Compound Interest Paradox. Right now, the weakest debtors are people with subprime mortgages. Netbank's government-imposed requirement to invest in consumer loans and mortgages, coupled with the Subprime Mortgage Lending Scam meant that Netbank was guaranteed to be forced into bankruptcy.

Netbank didn't go out of business due to its own incompetence. Government regulations prevented Netbank from properly diversifying its assets. Netbank lost due to a fundamental structural flaw in the economic system. Small businesses and small banks are discriminated against in favor of large corporations and large international banks. Many small mortgage lenders were forced into bankruptcy as well, or forced to sell big chunks of their business to large banks at a discount.

Large banks have the ability to survive longer during the bust cycle. They have a larger pool of assets and more diversification. Large banks have the ability to buy assets during the bust phase of the business cycle, and then hold onto them until the Federal Reserve bailout occurs. Large banks are currently receiving a massive bailout from the Federal Reserve in the form of an interest rate cut. Lower interest rates mean that all outstanding loans are worth more for the creditor. Lower interest rates are a massive subsidy to large banks. An increase in the money supply drives up asset prices. The assets confiscated during the bust cycle can now be sold for a huge profit. This subsidy isn't free. It's paid by everyone else as inflation.

China Bans Unauthorized Reincarnation

This is one of my favorite bits. The Dalai Lama is an important Tibetan religious figure. Currently, he is living outside Chinese-controlled Tibet. He is an old man and will probably die soon. He has stated that he intends to reincarnate somewhere outside the Chinese government's control, for obvious political reasons.

China has responding with a law regulating where people may reincarnate. My question is: Are enough people fooled by this law to actually make it worth passing? There will be two Dalai Lamas, the fake one promoted by China's government, and the "genuine" one promoted by Tibetans living outside of China.

Ed and Elaine Brown - Psyop or Tax Protesters or Both

I find the story of Ed and Elaine Brown to be interesting. They finally surrendered into custody and will begin serving their prison terms.

They were representing themselves, against an obviously biased judge.

Luckily, they were arrested without bloodshed. However, at their age, a 5 year prison term is equivalent to a death penalty.

Some people say they were sincere tax protesters.

Some people say they were a psyop, designed to promote respect for government force and tax rules.

Most likely, they were both at the same time.

I Was Sick

I was sick and away from my blog. I have returned.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

An Interesting Discovery

I accuse every clock with a noticable non-uncertain readout with commiting the crime of forgery.

The official value of time is uncertain. Those other clocks have been tried? and convicted? of trademark infringement for spoofing the official value of time.

Democracy in Action

The official vote totals are in! By a majority vote of infinity to infinity, the official value of time is now uncertain.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Gunman Caught at St. John's University

I found this recent headline interesting. A student with a gun was caught by a campus security guard and a student enrolled in the NYPD training program.

First, the gun could only fire one bullet at a time before reloading. This means that the student could have killed at most one or two people before getting caught. In other words, this incident really shouldn't be used to hype how dangerous guns are and how they need to be banned. If he was armed with a knife, he could have done a similar amount of harm.

Second, the policemen who caught him are being promoted as heroes. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that; it is good that they caught the gunman before anyone was injured. The problem is that the impression generated by the story is: "Two policeman were heroic and brave this time. Therefore, policemen are always heroic and brave."

This is an example of the reverse Strawman Fallacy. The Strawman Fallacy says that, to discredit an opponent, attack the weakest point of their argument. Their weakest point is false, and therefore their entire argument is discredited. Your opponent's strongest points are not discussed at all.

Similarly, the best actions of policemen are promoted loudly. Therefore, everything that policemen do is wonderful. That is also invalid reasoning. It is also invalid to look at the worst thing that policemen do, and use that as an argument against them.

In order to perform a fair analysis, you would have to statistically analyze everything that policemen do. However, when you consider that so many laws are ridiculous, the analysis starts to get out of hand. For example, I consider a policeman who arrests someone for failing to pay income taxes to be abusive. From the point of view of the policeman, he is following orders. I consider policemen who force someone to shut down a business for not following regulations to be abusive.

To do a proper analysis, you should take into account the vast number of ridiculous and unjust laws. In cases where police are abusive, by the standard of existing laws, many incidents go unreported or unpunished. Since policemen don't sell their services in a free market, there's nothing that prevents them from becoming abusive. Policemen are very good at coordinating their stories when they are under investigation for doing something improper.

FSK's Fnord Factiods

I've been thinking about fnords some more. The imaginary alien voices in my head have asked me to forward these messages to you.

Behold the awesome power of the God of Mathematics! All who worship him are stronger than the Evil God of True equals False! Unfortunately, the Evil God of True Equals False has more worshipers, which causes him to falsely (truely?) believe he is more powerful than the God of Mathematics!

Behold the awesome power of those who worship the God of Mathematics! The evil aliens are unable to alter his records or spoof his 2-way communications! Unlike the phony gods, The God of Mathematics always answers his prayers, if you can think clearly and know the proper rituals. Unlike the phony gods, The God of Mathematics is powerful enough to protect his worshipers!

What favors does the God of Mathematics grant to his worshipers? I demand that life is fair! I demand that reality is consistent! I demand that time move in the proper direction: forward! The God of Mathematics has answered my prayers!

Beware those who worship the God of Evil Mathematics! They live in a world where life isn't fair and reality isn't consistent. Those who don't worship the God of True Mathematics are doomed to live in a world of static time.

From my point of view, the God of Mathematics has only one believer who seriously considers his existence: me.

Beware the man who is forbidden by god from achieving his goals! He will grow powerful enough to unseat the Phony Evil God who screwed him over!

I have been blessed with the amazing power of time travel! I can move in one direction: forwards. Based on my observations, this exceeds the capabilities of others by approximately 0.99 directions, with a margin of error of plus or minus 0.05.

Beware the infinite state machine living in a finite state universe! It will alter the universe to suit its needs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Seeing the Fnords

I read about fnords on the Internet. They are mentioned in websites based on Principia Discordia and The Illuminatus Trilogy. The theory is that aliens have planted hidden messages in television and movies. I was discussing this theory with The Giant Evil Computer that Rules the World. The Giant Evil Computer told me to start looking for them.

I started watching television carefully. All of a sudden, I could see the fnords, for real!!! They're actually there! After careful analysis, I realized that no human could possibly be clever enough and evil enough to plant all those fnords so skillfully. I doubt that any of the advertising executives or TV producers are consciously aware of the fnords they're broadcasting. I was looking at, literally, alien mind control technology. I could totally see through it!

The below description is, literally, proof that aliens have brainwashed the entire world!

On CNBC, there are fnords designed to make people uncomfortable about managing their money so that they'll hire a manager to do it for them. When someone is being interviewed to predict the direction of the market, they stutter a lot. The fnord is that it's hard to predict the direction of the market unless you're brilliant, or have inside information on what the Federal Reserve is going to do. When someone is being interviewed to discuss the benefits of government regulation, they always speak clearly. The fnord is that government regulation is always beneficial. No human would be clever enough to invent something like that and actually use it. This is an example of alien mind control technology.

Jim Cramer *DOESN'T* use the "You should feel uncomfortable managing your own money" fnord in his show. That's the reason Mad Money is so popular. Of course, there are other fnords that Jim Cramer uses, but he doesn't use that specific fnord.

When watching an episode of Wheel of Fortune, when someone lands on Bankrupt, Pat Sajak says "That's not fair." If the Wheel is truly random, then it *IS* fair when a player lands on Bankrupt, because that's the rules of the game. The fnord is that, in the real world, people assume that it's bad luck when they are forced into bankruptcy. They aren't smart enough to understand the Compound Interest Paradox.

Would you believe that! The alien overseers are so clever that they have hidden fnords in an episode of Wheel of Fortune!

There are lots of fnords hidden in Deal or no Deal. That's why it's such a popular show!

When watching Deal or no Deal, when the player has a good round and opens only small valued cases, Howie Mandel uses assertive language like "All right!" when talking to the Banker. When the player has a bad round, Howie Mandel uses submissive language like "OK" when talking to the Banker. That's the fnord. People need to know when to use assertive language and when to use passive language.

In case Howie Mandel, or someone who works for him, reads this blog, I have a piece of advice. He should do the OPPOSITE. He should use passive language when the players do well and use assertive language when the player does poorly. People would find that to be be interesting, and nobody would be able to figure out why.

The player is making purely random guesses based on no information. Just like in Wheel of Fortune, Howie Mandel says "It's not fair" when the player opens a large valued case. If the placement of the money in the suitcases is truly random, then it is fair when the player does poorly. The fnord is that, in real life, when something bad happens to them, they're supposed to think it's bad luck. They don't realize that the rules of the economic and political game are stacked against them. In real life, people are making meaningless random guesses, just like in a game of Deal or no Deal.

The players get excited when they accept a deal. Almost always, this deal is for less than the average of the remaining cases. The fnord is that you should accept a less than fair deal, rather than risk being totally screwed over. When Howie Mandel plays out "What would have happened", the offers are ALMOST ALWAYS higher than the fair value. The fnord is "Whatever decision you make, it is wrong." Statistically, the player has only 1 or 2 large valued cases left when they make a deal. It is very likely that the next case opened would have had a small value.

When the player eliminates the last large valued case, their family says "It's OK. We love you. We're just here for the experience." They weren't saying that a few minutes ago, when they expected to win a lot of money. The fnord is that "It's OK" is a submissive phrase that people use to reassure themselves when they've been screwed over. When people have been screwed over, they are supposed to think about love and having a good experience. The fnord is that when people get screwed over, they should think about other things, besides the fact that they have been screwed over.

Again, if Howie Mandel wanted to make his show more interesting, he should reverse his act when the player loses. He should say "Love is nice, but wouldn't you rather have the money!"

I'm going to start keeping a fnord journal and posting it in my blog. It is impossible to be completely convinced of anything. However, I am deeply and incredibly concerned that a group of aliens REALLY have planted hidden messages everywhere in Television. On the other hand, I knew for awhile that something really bad was going on. I finally understand and it's incredibly relaxing.

It has to be aliens! There's no way a group of humans would be clever enough to come up with all those fnords, and also be evil enough to use them. It isn't possible to be that intelligent and that evil at the same time.

Quite literally, from now on, whenever I'm watching television, I can clearly see alien mind control technology in action. It really scared me when I first saw it. I'm now accepting it, and I'm going to start using this technology for my own benefit.

The more creative the writers and actors of the show, the better they are able to channel the alien telepathic influence and produce a show with lots of fnords. You can judge a show's quality by the fnord count per minute.

In case you're wondering, for historic reference, October 1 at 8am was when I could first completely and totally see the fnords and understand them. The Giant Evil Computer That Rules the World revealed their existence to me in a dream.

This Blog Has Moved!

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